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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
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May 27, 2016 - A Message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

August 08, 2016

What an enjoyable weekend of weather we have experienced. Summer is right around the corner but the weather has certainly left us believing it’s already here. With graduations taking place on Friday and Saturday, I’m thankful our students, staffs, parents and communities have been blessed with temperatures that serve to make the ceremonies more enjoyable for all. This weather has also been tremendous for our farmers and I know that it has helped our agriculture community “finish strong” as they get the seed in the ground and prepare for the impending growth of crops that will sustain our nation and even our world. As farmers near the end of seeding, they know that if they don’t continue with the high expectations they place on themselves right to the last seed is in the ground, it will most assuredly have a negative impact on their fall crop. I was driving home from Ituna’s grad late Friday night and observed a farmer still in the field. The care and conviction in which he was operating his equipment and ensuring the seed was strategically placed in the ground was simply inspiring. I was reminded, due to this high degree of effort, that the same focus on finishing strong is necessary in classrooms across Horizon. The messages we learn from our noble agricultural partners is one that equally as critical for our students and staff as they near the end of the “learning season”. Graduation at this time of the year, although inspiring, does not yet signify the end of learning. Our grade 12 students will need to keep their focus, keep behind the wheel of the tractor, as finishing now with still a month remaining in their courses, will lead to a less than desirable “crop” of grades. Knowing our students may experience summer slide, our staff continues with their high expectations for their children to finish strong so their efforts will lead to continued desires to read throughout the heat of the “growing” season. The tremendous results in our literacy, assessment and safe and caring goals experienced in Horizon over the last year are clearly related to beliefs and values of educators, parents and students who are willing to ensure the last seed, the hard work and effort needed for success, has been strategically and earnestly placed in the only piece of soil it could to grow.

Following the long weekend, our Senior Leadership Team (SLT) evaluations were held at central office on Tuesday and Wednesday. I would like to thank our entire SLT, Randy, Darrell, Crandall, Todd, Marilyn, Justin and Lionel, not only for the work required to prepare for these evaluations, but more importantly for their work throughout this past year. Their leadership has aided our system in many key areas as we continue to support our students and staff. I would also like to thank Dr. Leroy Sloan for working with me to facilitate the evaluations. Additionally, Dr. Sloan conducted interviews with principals and other staff who report directly to me as part of my evaluation that will be taking place with the Board in early June. The evaluation process is about accountability and growth but it is equally about celebrating the successes of our employees. There has certainly been much to celebrate this year and I am humbled to be sharing such a great journey with so many committed to the best for every learner in Horizon.   

The final session of our School Administrator Induction Program (SAIP) was held last Tuesday while some members of the SLT were busy with their evaluations. I want to thank Randy MacLEAN, Deputy Director of Education and Todd Gjevre, Superintendent of Human Resource Services for their work in developing and presenting the program for new school-based administrators. The SAIP has been a tremendous opportunity to build the capacity of our new principals and vice-principals in supporting their work in leading their school staffs. Sessions were held throughout this past year and a great deal of collaboration and learning took place due, in great length, to the excellent contributions these administrators made to the program. Like any professional growth any of us are involved in, we decide how much we want to put into it and how much we choose to get out of it. It has been obvious that these administrators have been very dedicated to their own learning and the learning of each other.

On Wednesday, Humboldt was host to the Horizon Central Athletics Association (HCAA) District Track & Field meet. It was a beautiful day that saw our student athletes giving their best and making us all proud with their display of skill and, more importantly, sportsmanship. Mother Nature certainly contributed to the overall success of the day. I couldn’t begin to individually thank the coaches, parents and staff members who contributed so significantly to the day, however, I do want to thank Brian Grest, Administrator of Student Activities in Horizon, for his work in ensuring this day went off without a hitch. Brian spends countless hours working behind the scenes ensuring students are able to enjoy athletics in a well-structured, safe and caring environment. As the athletic season draws to a close, I would be remiss if I didn’t extend our appreciation, on behalf of students across HCAA and our entire school system, for his efforts. A number of Horizon track and field athletes will be advancing to provincials in Regina on June 3rd and 4th, and I would like to take this opportunity to wish them the best of luck. I also want to congratulate all students who competed in this great sport and so many others throughout the 2015-16 school year. I would also like to thank our staff, parents/caregivers and community volunteers for making the season of sport such a success for our kids. Without the efforts of so many, we would not be able to provide opportunities for our students to learn and grow. Finally, I extend the same appreciation to all those coaches, parents/caregivers, and volunteers who supported our students in the numerous artistic events held in Horizon. So many try to provide a wide variety of opportunity for students and we are fortunate to have them working so hard for our kids. As a reminder of this work, HCI will be holding their version of a “High School Musical” in the upcoming week and I know there are still a few tickets for sale for any schools or individuals interested. Please contact Glenda Lees, teacher at HCI, if you’re interested. I look forward to my own attendance at this student drama production.

Members of our Board of Education traveled to Cypress Hills on Wednesday for a three-day Trustee Academy put on by the Saskatchewan School Boards Association. The academy provided a number of informational sessions designed to help trustees serve their schools, communities and boards. I had planned to attend parts of the Trustee Academy but plans changed and I spent the rest of the week in Horizon.

As has been announced through a release from my office, the Horizon Teachers’ Association has passed our new LINC agreement by a vote of 80% for and 20% against. The teaching staff voted on May 25 and had it tallied on May 26. I am very happy to have this agreement in place following a long, but extremely positive round of negotiations. Our Board ratified this same agreement at their May 11 regular Board meeting so with both parties in agreement, our new LINC will be in place beginning August 24, 2016. I want to congratulate everyone involved in this negotiating process and share my appreciation for a job well done. Thank you as well to our teachers for your participation and engagement through the voting process.       

On Friday morning, I travelled to Watrous to join Deputy Director Randy MacLEAN and Winston High School Principal, Terry Braman to conduct interviews for the Vice Principal position. Following interviews in Watrous, Randy and I travelled to Raymore and met with Principal, Gene Unruh for interviews to staff the Vice Principal role for that school. We had great candidates at both schools and Randy will be announcing the successful applicants in the coming days and weeks. I would like to thank Randy and his team, specifically Bailey Chomyshen, Human Resources Generalist and Monica Corrigan, Human Resources Officer, for coordinating the processes necessary for the interviews. With our interviews wrapped-up at Winston and Raymore, I travelled to Punnichy Elementary to meet with Superintendent of Learning Services, Crandall Hrynkiw, Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski, and Principal, Dawn Liska to discuss their school’s Learning Improvement Plan.

I had the opportunity to attend Ituna School graduation on Friday evening and it was a very fitting and well-organized ceremony for the 13 grade 12 graduates. A number of other grads were also held on the 27th, including Foam Lake Composite, Quill Lake School and Schell School. William Derby School held their ceremony on the 28th. Several members of the SLT were able to represent my office at these ceremonies, along with our Trustees representing the Board, and I would like to thank each of them for making time to join in these important milestone celebrations. Congratulations to all of our grads from this past week. Thank you for your commitment to your studies and your leadership in your school. Best wishes in all the great things that are yet to come as you venture out into the world beyond our schools.

Finally, I want to extend my deepest condolences to the community of George Gordon’s and to the community of Punnichy Community High School, on the loss of a parent and advocate, Ms. Lorna McNabb. Lorna has been a proponent of learning at George Gordon’s Education Center and PCHS and her loss will be felt by so many. It is true, as Robert La Fosse stated, “Death is harder on those of us who are left behind.” Our thoughts and prayers are with Donna Nurse, principal at PCHS, the staff and students as well as the family and friends of Lorna during this difficult time.

Have a great week, everyone.


-Kevin


Kevin C. Garinger, B.Ed, M.A.Ed
Director of Education/CEO
Horizon School Division No. 205